Shopping trolleys have not escaped the march of technology. Once, there was only one model that every retailer used until the Ancient Order of Trolley Shopping Designers produced the one whose wheels clamp themselves on to the moving footway and seem to defy gravity. Then came the lite trolley, a limited capacity two-storey model for afterthought shopping. Now we have the smart trolley that gets extremely shitty when you take it out of its territory and petulantly locks its front wheel.
I never took too much notice of this miracle of trolley self-determination. I imagined a trolley wheel locking control room deep in the bowels of the shopping center where CCTV would show a uniformed operator which trolley was about to enter unauthorized territory and would throw the wheel locking switch. But no, it would all be computer controlled, like every other bloody thing.
Fast forward to my visit to Dan Murphy’s last Sunday evening. I’d left my wife organising a social event at the Golden Sheaf Hotel (there used to be a brothel in Surry Hills called the Golden Sheath, I recall) while I went to Dan Murphy’s to stock up on alcoholic beverages and spirituous liquors. I’d parked the car in the street to avoid having to fork out hard earned cash in favour of an overstay in Woolies car park.
I get a bit fanciful once I’m let loose in Dan Murphy’s. In addition to needful beers, mixers and wines, I become mesmerized by the variety of drinks I’ve never seen before and have to try. My Dan Murphy’s trolley was near capacity when it came to the checkout where one of those young men who are trained to do things very quickly consolidated my selections into two, very heavy boxes. I paid and pushed my trolley to the moving footway and proceeded at bridal speed to ground level. My car was strategically parked about 100 meters away and I set off, pushing my smart trolley in front of me. As soon as I left the invisible radio field of the building the trolley pulled its predetermined trick and its front wheel locked.
My load of alcoholic beverages and spirituous liquors was too heavy to allow me to lift the trolley back into its happy zone. It might just as well have been welded to the pavement.
Dilemma. The two laden boxes were too heavy to carry to the car together but if I carried one, I’d have to leave the other to the Double Bay liquor street thieves who hang around for such opportunities.
Since it was about seven o’clock in the evening and the crowd had thinned out a bit, I reasoned the Double Bay liquor street thieves might have called it a day too. Anyway, I had no choice. I selected the box with the more expensive grog and waddled away to my car, risking a triple hernia. Once I’d secured it inside I ran back, ready to wrestle my remaining grog away from a felon, but the immovable trolley was still there with its load. I took the second box to the car.
Now, what revenge could I wreak upon the trolley? I had no weapons. Hitting it would hurt me more than the trolley. I could have kicked its offending wheel but broken my big toe. In the end, I left the bastard where it was. Dan could deal with it.